With all the travel restrictions still in force, being on a plane is for most of us a distant memory. But everybody probably still remembers that nice feeling of letting the feet loose after reaching their seat. Some travelers enjoy freeing their feet the moment they settle down into their seat; other people take their shoes off as soon as a hostess handles them a pair of fluffy socks; and others resist this urge until the plane takes off. But removing your shoes on a plane is not always a good idea… Here are some things you should consider before kicking your shoes below the front seat.
1. You stink up the whole cabin
Wondering what that smell is? Turn your head and you’ll figure it out. It will probably come from the stinky feet of the stranger behind you. Feet are one of the sweatiest parts of our body; each foot has approximately 125,000 sweat glands. And where there are sweat glands, there’s smell! If you would not appreciate someone else’s bare feet near your nose, chances are that other passengers around you will not appreciate either. If you are aware of your smelly feet, don’t let other passengers on your flight having to scrunch up their nose! And if you know that odor is an issue, prepare in advance by using deodorizing powders inside your shoes. People sitting around you will thank you for it.
2. Airplanes’ bathrooms aren’t exactly clean
For sanitary and hygiene reasons, it’s best to wear shoes when walking around the aircraft, especially if you need to use the lavatory. Airplanes’ bathrooms might seem clean, but they are actually not always properly sanitized between flights. In most cases they’re just given a quick spray and a restock of toilet paper… Not to mention the liquid on the floor, which is most likely not water. And since the lavatories are very small, it’s easier for bacteria to spread.
All in all, for the sake of hygienic reasons, it’s better to avoid a barefoot visit to the bathroom.
3. The aisle carpet is not cleaned either
The bathroom is not the only thing to be dirty on an aircraft. If you decide to take a stroll to stretch your legs, just remind yourself that even the isle has a nasty carpet that is difficult to clean. Think about it: when someone gets sick during the flight, crew members will never clean the whole carpet, but just a small area of it. So next time you decide to take a stroll during the flight, keep your shoes on your feet… You never know who has walked your path or what has fallen on it!
4. You might create a safety hazard
Taking off your shoes on a plane might also turn out to be a potential safety hazard in the case of an evacuation. Indeed, during an emergency, all kinds of objects could make it hard to reach an exit as they could block the isle or a row of seats. And if you’re not wearing shoes, you’ll have a hard time making it to an emergency exit too. So although leaving your shoes on can be uncomfortable, it will turn out to be an important safety precaution for you and for all other passengers as well.
5. The armrest… is for arms only
If you still can’t really help taking off your shoes, remember that the armrests (as well as the windows, the head rests, the tray tables, and someone else’s seat) are not designed for your feet. And obviously your feet should never be on another person.
Unfortunately, in most aircrafts passengers don’t have much private space. This makes it even more important to respect each other’s comfort. So just keep your feet within your limited space and at least keep on socks or wear a pair of slippers.